DIY PR: The Ultimate Guide to Doing Your Own Public Relations

Many business owners want to dive into DIY Public Relations, but sometimes feel held back. Maybe it’s because they don’t feel well-known, don’t have much money or resources, don’t have a team, or are just too busy with their regular jobs.

If your earnings aren’t great, boosting sales is the way to go. And to boost sales, you need to get attention – and that’s where PR comes in.

If you’re looking to DIY your own Public Relations, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what you need to know to start getting media attention all on your own.

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations, often abbreviated as PR, is all about managing and shaping the way an organization or individual is perceived by the public and the media. It’s like the bridge between an entity and the outside world.

Public Relations professionals use various communication strategies and tactics for building and maintaining a positive image, crisis management, and promoting their client’s or organization’s interests. This can involve activities such as media relations, press releases, social media management, event planning, and more, all aimed at fostering beneficial relationships and trust with the public.

Essentially, PR is about crafting and maintaining a favorable reputation and ensuring that the right messages reach the right audience.

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Why is PR Important for Small Businesses?

Public Relations is vital for small businesses because it helps them build credibility, trust, and visibility in their market. It offers a cost-effective way to reach their target audience, establish a positive reputation, and differentiate themselves from competitors. PR also assists in managing crises, engaging with the community, and navigating the online landscape.

Ultimately, it can lead to business growth opportunities and partnerships. In today’s competitive business environment, effective Public Relations can be a game-changer for small businesses looking to succeed and thrive.

When is the Right Time to Invest in PR?

Deciding when to dive into the world of Public Relations is a strategic move that can significantly impact your business’s trajectory. The right time to invest in PR often aligns with specific scenarios and business goals.

If you’ve noticed slow growth despite your best efforts, low brand recognition in your target market, or even encountered online reputation challenges, these are clear indicators that utilizing Public Relations strategies might be the next step in your journey to success.

Also, if you’re on the verge of launching a new product or service, or if you’re looking to expand your reach to a different audience segment, PR can serve as a powerful catalyst for your objectives. It’s the tool that can help you tell your story, create buzz, and build credibility.

leah in a book

Should I Do My Own PR?

Now, whether you want to try DIY PR or hire Public Relations professionals depends on your budget and how much time you’ve got. Full-blown Public Relations agencies can be pricey, sometimes costing a few grand a month. If you’re looking for something lighter on the wallet, freelancers are an option, but they might not have the broad skills and connections that agencies do.

If you’re thinking about going the DIY route, be ready to spend some time on it. For instance, putting in just a couple of hours a week in the Media Mentoring Program can get you some pretty solid results. There are tools out there to help, like databases that list media contacts. But, be careful with things like press release distribution – it doesn’t always get you the media attention you’d hope for.

If you’re looking to learn more, the Pitch Publicity Profit Bootcamp is a good place to start, and the Media Mentoring Program gives you a deep dive into PR with some great contacts and support. At the end of the day, you gotta decide: are you gonna put in the money or the time for PR? Make a game plan that fits your goals and what you can afford, and remember, knowledge is power. Ready to boost your business? Decide, dive in, and start your Public Relations adventure! 

Am I Ready for PR?

The process of transforming attention into leads and sales is the cornerstone of a successful PR strategy. If you’re grappling with generating leads or boosting sales, it often stems from a lack of attention. Attention serves as the conduit to leads, which, in turn, evolve into sales.

If lingering doubts have held you back, it’s time to cast them aside. You undeniably possess something of immense value, and there are uncomplicated routes to convert it into media exposure, leads, and ultimately, sales.

It’s imperative to recognize that earning media exposure isn’t about mere vanity or impressing strangers on the internet. It’s a strategic communication process to nurture your business.

Armed with this understanding of the core principles of effective Public Relations, it’s time to put theory into action and commence pitching yourself to the media. Let go of those lingering doubts – you’re more than capable of achieving this. Take the plunge and watch your business flourish.

For additional information, read 2 Ways to Know if You’re Ready for PR

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Is My Business Even Good Enough for PR?

Speaking of being ready, the Public Relations industry often falls victim to several myths and misconceptions that contribute to it being a best-kept secret. They also hold you back from pitching to the media because you believe them.

PR isn’t just for big corporations with deep pockets. It’s valuable for businesses of all sizes, including startups and small companies. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to building brand awareness through PR. It’s not just about getting in the media spotlight; Public Relations covers a wide range of activities like managing your reputation, handling crises, connecting with your community, planning strategically, and creating compelling content.

And let’s debunk the myth that Public Relations is all about spin and manipulation. Ethical Public Relations professionals focus on honesty and open communication, aiming for mutual understanding by sharing accurate information.

Lastly, measuring PR results isn’t as tricky as you might think. There are tools and metrics like media impressions, website traffic, social media engagement, and surveys to gauge public opinion.

PR isn’t an expense; it’s an investment that shapes how people see your brand, boosts credibility, and helps your business stand out, leading to growth and success.

For more, read 5 Myths About the PR Industry That Keep You a Best-Kept Secret

Can’t I Just Pay for PR Media Placements?

We have all received those emails and offers to be featured in Forbes and other large publications for a flat fee. But if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

In addition to ethical and legal issues, Pay-for-Placement PR tactics can undermine your own integrity and professional reputation. When you’ve worked so hard to build a business you’re proud of, you don’t want to jeopardize what you’ve built by working with agencies who aren’t concerned with their own reputations, let alone yours. Plus, at the end of the day, when someone guarantees you results, it’s good to be a bit skeptical.

Working with a Pay-for-Placement PR agency can lead to a variety of problems and missed opportunities. It blurs the lines of ethics in Public Relations, can lead to low-value placements, and may send the wrong message to genuine publicists.

Instead, focus on building strong, long-term relationships with reputable PR agencies (or on your own!) that can help you navigate the complex world of media coverage more effectively.

For more, check out 5 Reasons NOT to Work with a Pay-for-Placement PR Agency

Where Should I Start With PR?

Before you start putting yourself out there and asking for media placements, several key elements must be in place. First and foremost, your expertise is your bedrock. You need to be confident in your ability to provide value to others.

Once you’ve established your expertise, the next crucial step is to have a destination for the leads you generate. Whether it’s your website, social media profiles, or contact information, you must be prepared to guide potential clients or customers to a meaningful place.

It’s essential to understand that success in Public Relations is not about promoting yourself. It’s about assisting journalists and hosts in their work. Adaptability, a willingness to provide what they need, and swift responses are vital. As a bonus, small business owners and self-promoters hold a significant advantage in their ability to act swiftly compared to larger corporations bound by red tape.

Once you’ve secured coverage, remember the power of sharing it. Utilize your email newsletter, social media, and other platforms to distribute your achievements. Don’t underestimate the importance of confidence. Seize opportunities and embrace self-promotion. With value to offer and the readiness to harness it, you’re already equipped for success.

So, don’t hold back. Become your own Public Relations manager and watch your business thrive.

For more, check out 5 Things You Need to Have in Place Before You Act Like Your Own Publicist

Should I Invest in PR or Do It Myself?

Many ambitious business owners wonder when the right time is to tackle their own Public Relations. It’s astounding how many excuses I hear for not being ready, such as not being “big” enough, lacking recognition, insufficient earnings, team deficits, or holding onto a full-time job.

The beauty of PR is its potential to address these exact concerns.

  • If you’re not “big” enough, it likely means you lack funds; PR can generate attention and sales.
  • If you’re not well-known yet, PR can garner the attention you need.
  • If you’re not making enough money, PR can increase sales and attract leads.
  • No team? PR can help you find clients.
  • Still juggling a full-time job? PR can boost your income.

For those pondering the right timing for Public Relations, consider these signs: declining or stagnant business growth, a lack of brand recognition, a negative online reputation, an upcoming product or service launch, or entering new markets or demographics. The decision to handle PR yourself or hire a professional involves weighing time and money.

Hiring a Public Relations agency or freelance Public Relations specialists can be costly but offers expertise and contacts. Doing it yourself requires time, but tools like contact databases and courses l are available.

Ultimately, assess your goals, resources, and the value of credible PR for your business. Don’t forget that knowledge is potential power—apply it to achieve your goals.

How to Write a Pitch That Stands Out to Journalists

To make a pitch stand out to journalists, consider these key factors:

Personal Relationships

Building relationships, even in the digital realm, is crucial. Journalists are more likely to engage with pitches from people they have a working relationship with.

Concise and Direct Pitches

Keep your pitch clear and to the point. Journalists appreciate pitches that quickly convey the value and relevance of the story.

Affiliate Marketing Potential

In today’s evolving media landscape, the inclusion of affiliate marketing opportunities in your pitch can be a plus, especially in product reviews and recommendations.

For more, check out my interview with seasoned journalist, Alice Dubin here: What Makes a Pitch Stand Out to a Journalist 

How Long Does Public Relations Take?

One significant challenge I encounter when people approach MediaMaven for exposure assistance is their desire for immediate results. Impatience often arises from a lack of understanding about the industry’s dynamics. PR success requires time.

Warren Buffett’s wisdom is helpful here: It takes two decades to build a reputation.

Public Relations mirrors a marathon, not a sprint. PR necessitates consistent, ongoing efforts.

Annual subscriptions for PR software and contracts with agencies spanning a year or more are common practices. These timeframes aren’t designed to fleece you but are dictated by the industry’s workings, which align with news cycles and calendars, often beyond our control.

Quick hits lack staying power. While a sudden burst of excitement can occur, it quickly wanes as others vie for attention. To achieve lasting results, you must accumulate a series of notable successes.

For more on this topic, read The Real Reason PR Success Takes Time: 5 Key Factors You Need to Know

Can Social Media Matter to Public Relations?

There’s a lot of overlap between Public Relations and social media, which has been particularly pronounced in the last decade. The two areas can work together seamlessly.

Journalists often turn to your social media profiles to assess your expertise, so ensure that your content aligns with your pitched topics, creating a coherent image of authority in your field. Sharing your media wins on social media is pivotal; it not only boosts credibility but also fosters your personal brand.

Don’t share these achievements just once. Regularity is key in a digital landscape overwhelmed with content.

Connect with the journalists you’re pitching through social media by actively engaging with their posts, demonstrating your genuine interest. Sending a tweet as a follow-up to your pitch can effectively capture their attention.

Finally, don’t let your earned media coverage fade away. Share it repeatedly on social media to continually build your personal brand and leave a lasting impression. Consistency is essential, and tools like AgoraPulse can aid in efficiently managing your social media activity.

By seamlessly integrating your social media presence with your Public Relations endeavors, you can maximize the impact and effectively amplify your personal brand.

For more information, check out 7 Ways to Make Social Media Support PR 

How to Pitch Local TV from a TV Reporter

Local TV is a great place to start with doing your own PR. Every newsroom operates differently, but here’s a general guideline on who and who not to approach.

Don’t pitch production assistants, assistant news directors, news directors, and directors, editors. Do pitch assignment editors at the desk, producers, reporters, anchors (especially in smaller markets), photographers, website writers and website producers, executive producers, planning editors, and managing editors. Understanding these roles will help you identify the right people to approach in the newsroom.

Keep your pitch short and conversational. Write in the present tense. Make your pitch newsworthy and engaging, ensuring it’s not promotional. Avoid pitching during breaking news or on weekends when resources are limited.

Pitching your business to local TV can be an effective DIY Public Relations strategy, and being small or new in the business world can be an advantage. Smaller businesses are often more agile and can respond quickly to media opportunities.

For a more in-depth look, check out How to Pitch Local TV from a TV Reporter 

Working on location for a national TV show

How To Get Booked on Podcasts

Being a guest on a podcast provides you with a platform to share your knowledge, your expertise, and your unique insights with a wide audience. I love podcasts because they have dedicated listeners who are eager to learn from experts in various fields. And there’s just so much more intent with a podcast listener.

1. Start with Why

Begin by explaining why you’re pitching a particular podcast. Let them know they are your top choice.

2. Unique Talking Points

Delve into your talking points, making sure they are unique and provide tangible takeaways for the audience.

3. Highlight Your Expertise

Emphasize why you are the ideal candidate to discuss the subject.

4. Commit to Sharing

Promise to share the episode with your audience, reinforcing your authority and credibility.

5. Persistence Matters

Follow up two or three times; persistence is key to securing a booking.

6. Active Promotion

Once the episode is published, actively promote it, tag the podcaster, and share it again to maximize your credibility and turn publicity into profit.

Remember, avoid starting with your bio, as hosts are initially more interested in why you’re a good fit for their show. Don’t let myths and misconceptions hold you back from podcast success.

For more information, check out My 7-Step System That Gets Me Booked on Top Podcasts

You Can Do Your Own PR!

Wrapping things up, let’s remember that DIYing your Public Relations isn’t just doable; it’s something every business, big or small, can benefit from. We’ve debunked PR myths and explored all the different aspects of this powerful tool for your brand’s success.

But why stop here when there’s so much more to discover? If you’re eager to supercharge your Public Relations skills and tap into its full potential, we’d love to have you join our Media Mentoring Program. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill course; it’s a hands-on, personalized journey through the world of PR, led by me, a journalist turned PR Expert.

In our Media Mentoring Program, you don’t just get videos; you get one-on-one mentoring and all the tools you need to win big placements everywhere. Whether you’re aiming for media exposure, reputation management, or crafting compelling content, this program equips you with the tools you need to succeed.

So why wait? Don’t miss out on the chance to become a PR pro and take your business to new heights. Join us in the Media Mentoring Program today, and let’s embark on this PR adventure together. Your brand’s success story starts here, and we can’t wait to be a part of it!

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When You’re Ready, Here are Some Other Ways I Can Help You

  1. Spend less than an hour learning the 5 simple steps to getting featured in the media without spending money on ads. This masterclass is FREE!
  2. In three hours, I’ll teach you how to pitch the media to earn publicity and turn it into profit. Click here to join my bootcamp now.
  3. Are you ready to bring PR in-house? In my Media Mentoring Program, you or a VA can learn how to become a publicist with the skills of a big PR agency.
  4. Want me and my team of journalists to take all of this off your plate? Click here to set up a call with the Media Maven team about our done-for-you PR services.